Thursday, August 28, 2014

Skywatch Friday 72

More photos from my evening walk on Friday, August 8 -- these were taken on my return home just before and during sunset.




The tops of 9-foot sunflowers are barely visible in this one . . .




Scattered clouds made for interesting light during the two-hour walk.


The sun starts to set behind the trees . . .




This is the downside to living in such a green city -- it's sometimes difficult to get a
good, unobstructed view of a spectacular sunset.




Looking east, I suddenly saw a large plume of smoke above the Arboretum. At that
time, I figured it was coming from the Beltline highway or a home in the Arbor Hills
neighborhood. It wasn't until the evening's late news that I learned it was actually
from a fire at a large construction site that took up an entire city block on the far east
side. The fire was so huge, it was picked up on radar.


A final look west . . .



For more photos from this walk, see the following posts:

In Search of Sunflowers

Skywatch Friday 71

Dunn’s Marsh



LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thursday Thirteen 348: Recently Read


Here's a look at what I've been reading this summer. As always, it's an eclectic mix of romance, mystery, YA, and classics. Click on any link or cover to find out more about a particular title.















ABOUT THE BOOKS:

ROW 1: More Nora Roberts catch-up. The Pagan Stone is the last book in the Sign of Seven series. Hot Rocks is a single title, though related to the JD Robb book, Big Jack (which I have not read . . .yet). Finding the Dream is book three in the Dream trilogy. These will certainly not be the last books read by NR this year.

ROW 2: I won Mr. Monk Gets On Board through a blog contest and loved it (thanks Yvonne!). Will have to seek out more of these books, and I recommend them to anyone who loved the TV series. I plucked the Wendy Lyn Watson books out of Mount TBR for July mini challenges. These were books two and three respectively in her Mystery A La Mode series. Pity there aren't more, though maybe a good thing, considerign how long it took me to catch up on this series.

ROW 3: Nancy Atherton was the July featured author in the Cozy Mysteries group. Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin is book ten in the series. I still have several more in Mount TBR. No Graves As Yet was read for a mini challenge -- this book is set during WWI and was my first (though definitely not my last) book by Anne Perry. Laura Childs is not one of my favorite authors, but is the August cozy featured author, and as I had Gunpowder Green in Mount TBR . . . I figured I should probably read it.

ROW 4: I read A Sand County Almanac over a couple of years. It's a collection of essays, so I worked a few in now and then between other books. Aldo Leopold was certainly ahead of his time and wrote many thought-provoking essays. The Bell Jar was the classic group read for July and The Moonstone the group read for August. The writing in both is impressive, but the former is rather depressing, while the latter was quite good and more engaging -- even humorous at times. I would definitely read more by Wilkie Collins.

ROW 5: Only one YA book read these past two months, and it was a reread of a childhood favorite. Bridge to Terabithia was the 1978 Newbery Medal winner and one I recommend -- with a box of tissue at hand.


YOUR TURN: What are you reading these days?




LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday 146: Dunn's Marsh

A selection of photos taken from a recent walk through Dawley Conservancy and Dunn's Marsh, accessible by road as well as several state and local bike trails. Click on any photo for a larger view.


Blue Vervain and Cattails

Bridge at the intersection of several bike trails

Looking out over Dunn's Marsh from the Cannonball Bike Path.
The Capitol City State Trail runs along the opposite shore.

A doe along the Cannonball. We stood looking at each other a good five
minutes, before a toddler a quarter mile behind me let out a loud screech
that sent the doe crashing through the underbrush.

Can you see the ducks behind the reeds?

It's hard to get a good view of the pond this time of year.

One of several inlets around the pond.

Groundhog -- I've seen a lot of them this year!

Swamp Milkweed usually flowers mid-June to Mid-August in wet habitats,
and is attractive to monarchs and other species of butterflies.


Meadowsweet along the Cannonball Path. This is a
fragrant member of the rose family that grows in marshy areas.


For more photos, see the following posts from last week:

In Search of Sunflowers

Skywatch Friday 71



LINKING TO:

Wordless Wednesday

Create With Joy




Monday, August 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday 232: The Chocolate War

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!




I have just finished reading The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier, a young adult novel. Good writing, but can't say I enjoyed this one very much, particularly the ending. Here's the opening of chapter one, which I think appropriate considering football season is now in full swing.




They murdered him.

As he turned to take the ball, a dam burst against the side of his and a hand grenade shattered his stomach. Engulfed by nausea, he pitched toward the grass. His mouth encountered gravel, and he spat frantically, afraid that some of his teeth had been knocked out. Rising to his feet, he saw the field through drifting gauze but held on until everything settled into place, like a lens focusing, making the world sharp again, with edges.

(Chapter one)




ABOUT THE BOOK

Does Jerry Renault dare to disturb the universe? You wouldn't think that his refusal to sell chocolates during his school's fundraiser would create such a stir, but it does; it's as if the whole school comes apart at the seams. To some, Jerry is a hero, but to others, he becomes a scapegoat--a target for their pent-up hatred. And Jerry? He's just trying to stand up for what he believes, but perhaps there is no way for him to escape becoming a pawn in this game of control; students are pitted against other students, fighting for honor--or are they fighting for their lives? In 1974, author Robert Cormier dared to disturb our universe when this book was first published. And now, with a new introduction by the celebrated author, The Chocolate War stands ready to shock a new group of teen readers.





Thursday, August 21, 2014

Skywatch Friday 71

A few photos taken during a long walk to Dawley Conservancy Park and Dunn's Marsh on the evening of Friday, August 8.



The sky, as I set out on a 6-mile walk about 6pm -- it was a perfect summer evening.

This section of the Capitol City State Trail is lined with sunflowers
and other wildflowers.

They tower overhead at a height of 8-9 feet.

A look towards the pond over sunflowers and reeds.

A kingfisher keeps watch over the pond at Dunn's Marsh.

Sunflowers bending towards the setting sun.

Did I mention how tall they are??

Bridge near the hub where different state and local trails connect.

A glimpse of the sky on my return home.


For more pics from this walk see yesterday's post, In Search of Sunflowers

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thursday Thirteen 347: In Search of Sunflowers

This time of year is usually one of my favorites at the Arboretum's Greene Prairie, when it is a riot of yellow sunflowers, punctuated with the purple of gayfeathers and blazing stars. This year, however, there is a dearth of sunflowers, as well as many other plants in the Sunflower — or Asteraceae — family. A naturalist on a recent guided walk said she did not know what was causing it, whether it is disease or something else. I believe weather may be another factor — a hard, cold winter followed by a cold, wet spring and an above normal amount of rain in June. It has also been several years since it was burned, and fire is necessary for sustaining a healthy prairie. Many factors have prevented a controlled burn here, weather — particularly high winds — being a primary issue.

There are more than 23,000 species in the asteraceae family, nearly 100 of which can be found throughout the UW Arboretum. These range from spring pussy-toes to fall asters, and a variety of plants which bloom throughout the summer that includes sunflowers, daisies, ragweed, thistles, coneflowers, and goldenrod.

Not finding any sunflowers at Greene Prairie, I decided to walk down to Dunn's Marsh-Dawley Conservancy Park in Fitchburg, about a mile south of the Arboretum's Grady Tract. Part of the Capitol City State Trail cuts through a restored prairie on the south shore of the pond, where there are tons of sunflowers. The path winds round the pond and connects with other state and local trails. It is a pleasant place to walk, with sunflowers towering overhead, and coneflowers, Queene Anne's Lace and other wildflowers mixed in. Here are a few photos taken during a recent visit. Click on any photo for a larger view.




Greene Prairie -- the random sunflowers you can see belong to prairie dock,
and they are nowhere near as tall or as plentiful as previous years.


The abundance of sunflowers at Dawley Conservancy Park is evident from the road.




One lone bloom among many buds.


Cup-plant can grow to eight feet tall, prairie dock to nine feet.


A Cup-plant in full bloom.






While there is some Queen Anne's Lace mixed in with the sunflowers, the one thing
I did not see this year was wild quinine, which grew right along the trail last summer.


Sunflowers of various heights line either side of the trail.


They back right up to the tree line and marsh along the Cap City Trail.


Sunflowers and Queen Anne's Lace near the trail hub.


Sunflowers, coneflowers, joe-pye weed and Queen Anne's Lace are among the
many wildflowers found at Dawley Conservancy and Dunn's Marsh.




LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen